Why is air pollution such an important issue?

Your Health

Dangerous chemicals such as benzene or vinyl chloride in the air cause cancer, birth defects, long-term injury to the lungs, as well as brain and nerve damage when people breathe it. And in some cases, breathing

these chemicals can even cause death. Breathing contaminated air can make your eyes and nose burn and trigger respiratory problems, especially for people with asthma. In recent years, scientists have shown that air pollution from cars, factories, and power plants is a major cause of asthma attacks.

For example: “And more than 131 million Americans — over 40 percent of the nation’s population – live in areas with bad air. Roughly 30 percent of childhood asthma is due to environmental exposures, costing the nation $2 billion per year”. Source: Natural Resources Defense Council: http://www.nrdc.org/health/effects/fasthma.asp

The Environment

Poisonous air pollutants (toxic chemicals in the air) can form acid rain. It can also form a dangerous ground-level ozone. These destroy trees, crops, farms, animals, and continue to make water bodies harmful to

humans and animals that live and depend on water.

The Economy

The effect of air pollution on the economy may be a derived one. In simple language, the economy thrives when people are healthy, and businesses that depend on cultivated raw materials and natural resources are running at full efficiency. Air pollution reduces agricultural crop and commercial forest yields by billions of dollars each year. That, in addition to people staying off work for health reasons, can cost the economy greatly.